The Light at the End of the Tunnel

A light at the end of the tunnel, September 2012

A light at the end of the tunnel, September 2012 (Photo credit: DaveOnFlickr)

When I graduated college I found my first job working for an insurance company.  I guess I was excited.  The pay was nominal even for those days, but it was a job, something I was taught was necessary for my survival and ultimately my independence.   Many people worked in the same nominally paid position with homes, cars, and families.  I remember thinking that it would be a bit precarious of me to get an apartment and a car based on my ability to maintain this job and the favor of my boss.  After all, to do this would leave my modest lifestyle and me vulnerable to the whim of my superiors.  My mother of course was excited and encouraged me to buy a car with my new found providence, and to save up for an apartment of my own.  The goal, you see, was for me to someday own my own home and find a good life for myself.  I understood her, but I did not understand.  How can one live a free, independent life at the whim of another?  Hard work wasn’t the only thing that kept a job, even in those days.   Be that as it may, I obtained an apartment and a car and went to work every day.

Years have passed since that first real job, yet still the idea of freedom eludes me.  I often wonder if this system of survival is what was meant for us on this planet.   I see daily how many suffer because they cannot find someone to work for, or they cannot find a suitable place to live even if they did.  I watch as people struggle to feed their families on meager salaries and fight amongst their coworkers who also feel the pressure of survival.  Even on jobs where the pay is good, people scratch and claw their way to a better salary or perceived way of life at the expense of others.  This is viewed as achievement, but many times it results in the momentary achievement of one to the detriment of another.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Means is over looked, with the end being the primary judgment of our efforts.  Unethical behavior is lauded as genius and cunning as a value.  This negative way of being is inherent in a system which rewards only that which is most often obtained through scheming and manipulation.   It is understood that nothing is free, and in order to obtain anything one has to place the self above all else. “Be number one” is the mantra of a system that depends on ones lack of meaningful connection to others.   Without this connection we are free to pursue all things without regard for another and even at their expense.  Ultimately, however, our efforts are never fully rewarded, as the end result always leaves us even more dependent on the whim of others.

Why then do we persist in a system designed to keep us enslaved to ideals?  Why do we insist on placing ourselves in debt for half our lifetimes, losing our passion for our jobs, and turning them into a means to a 30 year end?  Why do we allow some to go without a home on a planet that is made of land?  Why do children go thirsty on a planet whose mountains spew fresh water, and rain falls freely from the sky?  Why are families hungry on a planet that sprouts food from its soil?  Why did we create a system that bars the magnificent landscapes and beautiful vistas of this planet from the majority of its inhabitants?  And most importantly– and probably the most impossible for many of us to even consider— why is the system of money even necessary, when starvation and poor health is the result of poverty rather than a lack of resources?  (Try explaining money to a visitor of our planet!)

My mother didn’t realize it, but I did those early years after college.  Working for another and being in debt to another for the rest of your life, is not independence.  It’s just another form, though apparently a more palatable form, of slavery.  This kind of slavery, however, is much more difficult to eradicate.  The chains have us firmly tethered to our ideas of success, lifestyle, and illusory self, thus we refuse to see them.  They have literally become a part of us, so much so, that we cannot imagine any other way of living.

Chains

As I drive the highway on the way to work and catch glimpses of the true reality, I realize that the planet was created for us to experience it.  Relegating ourselves to such a limited existence based on indoctrinated ideas that severely constrict our experience and growth, also stagnates our spiritual evolution by virtue of its nature.  The system cannot survive in the light, and as light beings at our core, we too cannot survive.  What of the light at the end of the tunnel that we so often pray for?   It has to be us.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds…”

Bob Marley

Namaste

Light at the end of the tunnel

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Unattachment vs Love

Attachment

I‘ve read much on attachments and how they are the essential root of suffering.  Though, I intellectualized the meaning of this concept, again one must experience it in order to fully appreciate it.  The usual culprits of material possessions, appearance, position, I thought I understood.  But what of relationships, hopes and dreams?  This, though I accepted as attachment, I could not fully conceive.   I mean after all, how can one not be attached to such things as a child, a lover, or even ones lifelong vocation?  I found, (quite painfully, as mirrors usually are), that it was not only ones attachment to such things that will inevitably cause suffering, but the value placed on them in relation to ones presumed identity, particularly at the threat of their loss.  Therein lies the pain and suffering spoken about.  Suffering not only inflicted on the self, but on others as well.  The trick is observing its subtlety.

Joy-roseshamrockthistle

It’s difficult not to take pride in ones profession. Years and years of practice and experience finally culminating in the extensive knowledge and respect that you feel you have earned. Of course this identity that you have procured is not your true self. Who you have become is never who you are. Even so, if this self is threatened,– say by one more advanced, sharper, or just ‘new’,– what would you do to protect the self you have procured? I have seen many go far; spreading rumors, dropping innuendo, even discouraging others in the pursuit of their illusory self. The damage caused can be witnessed in the toxic work environment, where all denigrate the other for no other reason than to prevent the relinquishment of their idea of self.  All Suffer.

A lover grips one in a whirlwind of possibility for the illusory self. They tell us of our worth and meaning, who we are as a man or woman, the magic we have on the emotions of another. We fall deeply into this state of being, breathing in fully the pleasures of being the focus of someone’s life and emotion. We quickly self identify. Attachment— for the self. Then, as if moved by the wind, your paths diverge. Their interests change or they move on to pursue another “life lesson”. How far would you go to prevent this pursuit, or deny this disinterest to maintain the illusory self? Again, many have gone far. And even after their efforts were to no avail, they remain trapped by the loss of the illusory self they created. Suffering.

"The mother"

A mother will be forever possessed by her child, and rightly so. Can it be possible to experience suffering on a subtle level by something so innate and selfless as the love of a mother and child? Only if we attach for the self– the identity that we expect to be fulfilled. I have suffered this in the form of guilt, blame, feelings of inadequacy. All illusory. All Suffering.

What then can we do? Maybe, instead of trying to find out who we can become or should be, we should look instead for who we already are. We are what is necessary. We are what is sublime. We are that which we search for, not our jobs, our possessions, or our relationships. Our situations are our lessons, but they are not us. Every now and then, as a Fledgling Mystic, I detach, releasing all of it just to observe. The situations quickly fade away, obliterated by the beauty, complexity and wonder that embodies each unique expression of a supreme consciousness, and I know that all of it, every moving, breathing piece of it, is me.
Un-attachment is not being without love. It is love at its most sublime.

Namaste

metaphysical supplement...

HOME OF A TRILLION BUDDAHS

Colorful Buddhas

As a child, I always wondered why people in general could not really get along. I often watched from the sidelines as people bickered and balked in their attempts to do something as simple as working side by side. In school, I learned that man was in fact a social being requiring the presence of others for survival, yet in groups or as nations conflict seemed to be the primary form of communication. This often troubled me, as being an only child I wanted to be in the company of many, but could not stomach the constant conflict.

Now as an adult, I have learned to deal with it, although I resent having to. Intermingling has become a sort of social dance, a necessary caveat to keeping a job, maintaining a relationship and educating my child. All the attachment to ones individual identity, leading to the protection of said identity, has lead to a myriad of social ills that must be strategically navigated in order to survive.

In an effort to do something of use to improve the human condition, I chose nursing as a career. I expected this innately altruistic profession to be filled with like minded individuals, but that was not the case–exactly. Undaunted, I continued, content with my initial intensions and hoping that I too would not fall prey to the ego endowed bravado that sometimes inundated even the most purest of ideals. Ego, unfortunately, is an inherent part of us all, and I fell prey to mine well before I knew I could control it. My ego, however, did not turn on others for protection but instead turned on its source, clawing and scraping from within. I had to find a different focus, something on which my monster could grind it teeth and lose its need for self aggrandizing. I looked closer at the vessel which housed it, the human body. It was there I found the most amazing thing about human existence.

My grandmother used to say, “As above, so below”. She used this interesting phrase to characterize the seemingly random events of life, adding that even a simple flower mimicked the ethereal, being attached in some way, mirroring the laws of the universe. I pondered this as I looked at the human body and likened its intricate functions to human existence. I delved as far ‘below’ as I could to try and find some link between the microscopic world of our bodies and us. I found that though individual and operating separately, many of the body’s cells worked in quiet unison to maintain the life of the whole. Packed

Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts ...

Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts of life exist because of the whole, but also to sustain it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

tightly and separated by membrane, they acted together to produce an organ with its own individual structure and function. Some cells did not belong to a particular organ but instead flowed independently through the circulatory or limbic system, carrying on varying functions that either protected the other cells or nourished them. Others flowed out of their respective systems to protect other areas of the body, like the skin or the lungs. Still others gathered together to form barriers against infection or to repair areas that experienced trauma. The organs formed by the many cells performed their own functions and assisted the functions of others organs, all of which the body needed for survival. Trillions of individual cells living in one large space without the advent of conflict, competition for space, resources, or even the occasional hermit. Each Individual, all working together for the whole, no one greater or more important than the other. Could it be that these tiny beings realized they were part of a greater being? Were they aware at some level that they were in fact One, and that the actions of each of them affected the whole no matter where in the body they were? Were they acting as one consciousness, or did they pursue their own agendas? It occurred to me that perhaps they did know. Perhaps they were all tiny Buddhas.

Sunset over The Pacific Ocean, at Acapulco

A young kid at work talked to me one day about an upcoming election and his aversion to the candidates. He said that man will always have a dictator, or some other such guy, who will try to rule everyone else. It was in mans’ nature to want power. I told him I didn’t think so, that it was not in mans’ nature to be violent or seek dominance over the many. We argued the point for a long while until I pointed out the heaven within him. “Your body is home to a trillion Buddhas”, I said. “The kingdom of heaven is practically there within you. No one is maligning the other. There is no dictator. All are important. All have a role. If it weren’t so, you wouldn’t survive, as we will not”. He cast me a dubious glance. I believe what I told him.

I’m not sure, though, why man is out of sync with nature. Perhaps, unlike the cells in our bodies, man does not yet realize he is part of something bigger. For some reason he concentrates on the ‘individual’ part and not the ‘whole’ part, gathering all and sharing nothing. One other cell does this, and as a result the body dies and so does the cell.
“As above so below”, my grandmother used to say. I look above and I see majesty, beauty and cooperation. Where then are we?

Namaste

LotusEmerging0041

A Fledglings Glimpse

space

On the way to work one morning I caught a glimpse.  Not sustained, however just a glimpse, but one that showed me the wonders of a world free of mental labels.   I had been reading one of my favorite books a few nights before on enlightenment, and what the experience is like for those who awaken to the true reality.  Although I would like to profess my full enlightenment to the world, in truth this sustained state of awareness eludes me.  However, at times I do get glimpses, visions of the true reality that surrounds us every day, even on the drive to work.

As usual my mind was occupied, telling me of the coming traps and delusions of the day, all of which raised my level of anxiety and caused me to plan my responses to events that, for all intents and purposes, did not exist.  I began to realize this as my mind fell deeper and deeper into its self-made future causing me to feel, at the pit of my stomach, a loathing built from nothing.  I halted my thoughts and turned my attention to the lingering emotion that vibrated deep within my being, feeling it too dissolve under the glare of my observation.  Then suddenly I found myself actually looking out of the windshield in front of me.  There I saw it.

Without labeling anything,  I looked out upon a world chucked full of form and lights and motion.  My breath caught in my chest as I marveled at the complexity of this relatively tiny space of existence created from the one consciousness that permeated it all.  The individual moving objects that passed me in the opposite direction powered by individual entities with depth and history.  The growths that sprung up from either side of the long slick path I traveled.  The rushing sound that accompanied my movement through space.  The darkness pierced by tiny beams of red and white in front and behind me.  All seemed a miracle in that moment.  A miracle born of an infinite consciousness that in one instant burst forth all of this unfathomable depth and dimension.  I wanted to hold the feeling of newness for a time longer.  Without actually thinking I turned on the music.  What rushed forth into a space that held so much already was the voice of an individuated entity, creating a mesmerizing sound evoking its experience in as unique a way as it was itself.  The melody floated through my space telling of the entities emotion and experience.  A deep chuckle rose in my being as I realized that in truth this entity was as well myself, as were the lights, the trees and the passing cars.  As the labels returned so did my sleep.

greetings fellow gaseous entity

greetings fellow gaseous entity (Photo credit: mattguest)

I rounded my car into the parking lot of my job, turned off the engine and sat in silence.  What an immensely complex tapestry of sights, sounds and form this world is.  To glimpse it is to be free of the distraction that clouds our vision of it.  To sit in awe, if only for a moment engages the soul and offers us a ring side view of our own creation which defines us as more than what we experience or create.  I’m reminded of a quote from “Monty Pythons, The Meaning Of Life”; “Matter is energy. In the universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person’s soul. However, this “soul” does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man’s unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.”

As I walked into the large brick building navigating through the sliding door which somehow sensed my presence, I  wondered if I had in fact brought into existence all of that which I observed, even my true self; the observer.  After all, in order to experience ourselves we had to become many.  My anxiety was for naught.  The glimpse sustained me for the remainder of the day.  Perhaps one day I will sustain it. Anyway, it was only a glimpse. Tiny, yet infinite.

Namaste.

Dark Tree Outline

The Fledgling Mystic

Prayer flags on Renjo La

Prayer flags on Renjo La (Photo credit: Oliphant)

Welcome to my blog.   This is my first attempt at blogging which I meet with excitement and a bit of anticipation.   I have much to share regarding my experiences as a fledgling mystic and welcome any experiences or comments that will be of benefit to all who are on similar journeys.   I say “fledgling” because much of this is new and exciting to me, therefore I face it with the wide-eyed wonder of a toddler.   I am in no way an expert guru or a spiritual marvel.  I am simply a resident of this planet in search of what is real.   Again I welcome you.

I suppose my journey began as a young Christian.   I was baptized at an early age and began to follow as much as I could -or was willing- the teachings of that faith.   I did all the physical work required;   attending church, communing with a congregation, praying and reading scripture, and found that I had an affinity for the spiritual.   Christianity taught me a great many things and gave me the validity and structure I needed to feel identified with my faith.    I studied the bible, drawing on my own limited understanding while thoroughly mixing it with what I’d been taught.  I felt I was well on my way to salvation, though at times salvation seemed a thing to be achieved through unwavering faith and action, which I failed at on occasion.  Albeit, I prayed regularly and felt I had a “relationship” with the God so fervently preached about.  I went on throughout my life occasionally using what I learned in my interaction with others, and praying for help when things took a wrong turn. Deep within me, however, I felt something was missing.  Something important that perhaps I did not fully understand. Something that addressed not only my times of perceived blessing but also of life’s tragedies. The millions of people killed and maimed in war; the abuse of innocents, the bad things that happened to seemingly good people, all of these things had to have a plausible explanation, rather than the canned response of “…He works in mysterious ways”.  I knew that The God I believed in did not create these things.  Were these people somehow not blessed?  Why could I not know His ways?   And more importantly, why after millions of baptisms and supposedly changed lives, had nothing changed?  I knew, of course, that I would never know these great mysteries, as I was taught and believed that my understanding was neither required nor necessary.  The mystery of God was “beyond my understanding”.  I resigned to be content in that belief until on one afternoon I found I was no longer among the blessed.

Late that rainy evening something tragic occurred;  I lost someone most dear to my heart after a long year of illness and suffering.  I had never lost anyone so dear to me before.  I was in utter shock.  As taught, I prayed.  I prayed for the soul lost to me, and for myself.  I read from the bible and listened to the well-meaning, comforting words of friends.  I thanked God for being with me, then fell into a year long depression.  It was at that time I began to question, not my belief in God, but who I believed He was.  After all, He had watched my loved ones suffering.  He witnessed their death and my despair.  He  stood by as I sunk into deep depression.  When asked why this was the case, many parishioners turned their gaze upon me.  It was I who had failed myself.  I who had lost my faith.  I was to blame, not God.  What they failed to realize is that I did not blame God for any of it; I blamed my lack of understanding Him.  I no longer believed that I should be content with the mystery.  I felt it was time I found it.

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I realized my belief in a God was not simply founded on what I was told or had chosen. My belief came from what I witnessed, what I actually experienced being alive on this planet. The life that existed within me, that made me a living breathing entity with an awareness apart from that which surrounded it.  The life that permeates even the tiniest atom enabling it to move to and fro, and in some cases in and out of existence. The human heart that beats continuously, sometimes for up to 100 years without batteries or attachment to some visible energy source.  All are clues along with a million other things we take for granted.  In this, I experienced the work of an aware consciousness that permeated everything, even the carton of milk in my fridge.  I’ve always felt this, but who or what it was eluded me, as it has many of us on this planet.  Strange, since all on this planet are comprised of the same mystery stuff as everything else.  How then can we not know?  Therein lies the rub.

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Off on my search I went, looking high and low for that which was in that.  I looked first to science. I found that much of science was based on a kind of “mechanical theory”, reducing everything to structure and function, until I came across quantum physics. There I found what Einstein called the “spooky actions” of matter at the quantum level, producing such baffling findings as the two slit experiment which lead to the quantum enigma.  I studied and looked at the Fibonacci sequence that produced the seemingly random patterns of life. The Mandelbrot set that gave us a glimpse into natures unfathomable depth of design, to name a few.  I began looking at the works of the many religions, the teachings and beliefs that all pointed to ‘love thy neighbor’ as a cornerstone of existence.  I looked deeply into the intricacies of Buddhism, and Hinduism.  The belief of the Vedanta Society intrigued me, as well as, some of Darwin’s lesser known discoveries about interconnectedness, love and cooperation.  I read books by Deepak Chopra, Ekhart Tolle, (one of my favorites), then finally back to the bible, particularly Jesus’s teachings.  I’ve read and read and listened and talked and still I have only scraped the surface.  It appears, though, that meditation– going deep within– yields the greatest results.  I have come to feel that who God is, who He really is, may be closer than I imagined.

At this point in my search I have found many things, but the one thing that stands out most is a fact that I now fully realize…..there is only one of us here!  Although there are a million different expressions, there is only The One present. “…for to experience ourselves we had to become many”.  It did take me a minute to realize that duality wasn’t a mistake, what with all the hatred and heinous acts committed because of this perfect illusion.  The acts I found were not the result of the illusion, but the result of our attachment to it.  Once we awaken and realize who we are, we will truly love our neighbor as ourselves and this madness will end.  After all, our neighbor is ourselves, and as you well know, suicide is madness.

As for death, I found it also to be an illusion, or more likely a delusion.  We cannot die, and if we listen closely to Jesus, how we appear to die is of no consequence.  Suffering proves to be purely subjective.  According to Buddha, we can be free of that as well.  This is not based on a blind belief, but a practiced, researched fact.

Why hasn’t the world changed?  Perhaps we don’t know who we are yet.  We have not awakened.  Enlightenment -total awareness of the real- changes you inside and out, for you see and experience a different reality, the REAL one.  There is no backsliding from that.  You are literally “born again” into a world that always existed, but one you knew nothing about.  As Jesus said “the kingdom of heaven is within you”.  If our perception of reality changes, and as a result we see who we really are, and where we really are, then heaven on earth is a given. It becomes necessary that we make this evolutionary shift spiritually in order for us to survive.

What of God?  Just like He said, “Look under a rock, I am there.  Split open a log and you will find Me” Not a riddle.  The truth in all its glory.  He is indeed everywhere or more precisely,  He IS everywhere.  That, I believe, is what He was trying to tell us.  All is alive. All is that which you seek.  I/you are living breathing proof of it, as are all of us/me that are/is here.

Like I said before, I’m just a fledgling.  Wide-eyed, brand new and exited!

Namaste

Joy

Joy (Photo credit: Karthick R)

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